MANILA - The Philippines may face an increase in its COVID-19 cases as the holidays near, a researcher said Thursday.
The country now ranks 22nd among nations with most coronavirus cases worldwide as it records around 1,000 daily average patients, according to Professor Guido David, member of the OCTA Research Group which analyzes COVID-19 data in the Philippines.
"Aware rin naman tayo na pagdating ng holiday season meron na ring fatigue ang mga tao, gustong lumabas, pwedeng magkaroon ng uptick pero ang importante d'yan 'yung response natin mabilis para... di lalala at magkakaroon ng surge," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We're aware that as the holiday seaosn approaches people have fatigue and want to go outside, it's possible to face an uptick but the important thing is our response is fast so there would not be a surge.)
"Patuloy pa rin nating gawin ang mga ginagawa nating tama para di magbago ang trajectory natin so 'yung health protocols kailangan strictly sinusunod natin. Wag muna tayo magpabaya at maging pasaway."
(We must continue to do what we do right so our trajectory will not change, we need to follow health protocols strictly. We can't neglect these.)
David said the decline in daily average cases may be due to the Philippine Red Cross' halt of government testing, which has since resumed, and the disruption of laboratory tests results due to typhoons.
The Philippines as of Wednesday reported 388,137 COVID-19 cases, of which 31,679 were considered active, 349,091 were recoveries and 7,367 were fatalities.
"We expect may mga backlog pa rin ng cases na biglang papasok pero ang trend na nakikita natin is still a real trend kasi 'yung nakikita nating positivity rate mababa na rin sa Metro Manila, nasa 6 percent na lang, malapit na 5 percent, ang target natin," he said.
(We expect there's still a backlog of cases but our trend is real because the positivity rate we see in Metro manila is around 6 percent, close to our target of 5 percent.)
"Kahit na kulang sa test, 'yung positivity rate ay percentage naman, hindi masyado affected."
(Even if we lack test results, our positive rate is by percentage, it's not affected much.)
The number of cases may increase a "few hundred" if the backlog cases are included, David said.
"Di naman 'yan aabot ng 2,000 plus. Siguro pwede naman siya tumaas ng few hundred pero di naman alarming yan. 'Yung average natin is okay pa rin naman," he said.
(It won't reach more than 2,000. It may increase a few hundred but it's not alarming, our average is still okay.)
The research group also favors the decision of Metro Manila mayors' to keep the capital region under general community quarantine until end of the year.
"Gusto natin may konting balance para macontrol ang crowding sa malls and public places. 'Di naman forever ang GCQ," he said.
(We want balance to control crowding in malls and public places. GCQ is not forever.)
The health department earlier said it was hopeful that the entire country could shift to more lenient quarantine protocols by the first quarter of 2021, should local government units be able to sufficiently comply with standards on prevention, contact-tracing and treatment.